The number of care applications has risen by eight per cent in the past year, according to latest statistics from Cafcass.
Care applications have risen by eight per cent in a single year. Image: David McCullough
Figures for the 12 months between April 2012 and March 2013 show the organisation received a total of 11,055 applications – the highest recorded in a single year. The figure for 2011/12 was 10,244.
In February 2013 alone, there were 998 applications – the highest on record for a single month.
Despite increases in care application demand, the length of care cases has dropped, from 54 weeks in 2011/12 to 45 weeks in the third quarter of 2012/13.
Anthony Douglas, chief executive of Cafcass, said the organisation is working hard with courts, local authority services and agencies to reduce unnecessary delays for children and young people going through care proceedings.
“While pressure continues to come from the increase in application numbers, we know that these applications are being brought in a more timely and better prepared way than was the case in 2008, when we first witnessed a large increase following the Baby Peter case in Haringey,” he said.
“Work will continue over the coming year, both at national and local levels, to ensure we are working together to provide the best service possible to the children we support.”
Cafcass is also continuing to experience high levels of private law cases. In March, a total of 4,001 new applications were passed to the organisation, a one per cent increase on March 2012.
The organisation has said the increase appears to be linked to changes regarding legal aid, which came into effect on 1 April. Most parents will no longer be eligible for legal aid in disputes about children following separation or divorce.
SOURCE: Children & Young People Now